STUDY DESIGN: The ligaments of the human sacroiliac joint (SIJ) were investigated morphometrically.
OBJECTIVE: A macroscopical study was performed to measure the anterior sacroiliac ligament (ASL), the interosseous sacroiliac ligament (ISL), and the posterior sacroiliac ligament (PSL), applying different methods of ligament visualization.
SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: Little is known about the SIJ ligaments, especially about the ISL. Pelvic computer simulations neglect these ligaments due to the lack of information. Computer simulations of the SIJ ligaments may help to improve the clinical outcome of SIJ operations.
METHODS: Seven-Tesla MR images, CT images, and corresponding thin slice plastinates of the SIJ of 1 male and 1 female specimen were obtained. Serial sections of the SIJ of 32 frozen specimens (13 males, 19 females) were generated to gather measurements of the SIJ ligaments.
RESULTS: By means of the MR images and the plastinates, a virtual reconstruction of the SIJ ligaments was accomplished. Parallelepipeds were attributed to the cranial, middle, and caudal parts of all SIJ ligaments. This allowed precise measurements and statistical comparison including positional relationships. The ISL volumes and origin surfaces were the largest. Statistically, the ASL and PSL parameters were larger in males, while the ISL parameters were larger in females. The height of the cranial ASL part showed large negative correlations in spite of positive correlations of the other heights.
CONCLUSION: The combined use of high-resolution MRI and thin slice plastination allows precise reconstructions of the SIJ ligaments. With these techniques, the ligaments can be visualized in situ and described morphometrically if based on substantive data. The SIJ ligaments are gender-dependent. This has to be taken into account for pelvic computer simulations.
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